Census Search Case Studies

A census is a complete population count for a given area or place taken on a specific date. The 1841 census is considered to be the first modern UK census.

Explore some of the interesting stories we have found in the Census records for each available year:


Census 1841: Dr William Henry Weekes

Dr. William Henry Weekes was the parish surgeon for the town of Sandwich (Kent). In 1841 he was conducting experiments with electricity in his laboratory at 43, High Street.

In William Sturgeon's Annals of Electricity for 1841, Weekes records that: "An interesting and intelligent lit... Read more


Census 1851: Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, was born in Dublin in 1769. He served in Europe and in 1797 his regiment was sent to India where his brother became Governor General later that year. In India, Wellington saw active service until he returned home in 1805. He sat as an MP for Rye bet... Read more


Census 1861: Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale's greatest achievement was to raise nursing to the level of a respectable profession for women.

In November 1856, Miss Nightingale took an hotel room in London which became the centre for the campaign for a Royal Commission to investigate the health of the British Arm... Read more


Census 1871: Robert Browning

The British poet Robert Browning was born in Camberwell, South London. He was the son of Robert Browning, a wealthy clerk in the Bank of England, and Sarah Anna Wiedemann, of German-Scottish origin. In 1846, Browning married the poet Elizabeth Barrett and settled with her in Florence. When Eliz... Read more


Census 1881: Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker was born in 1847 at 15 The Crescent, Marino. Stoker was bed-ridden until he started school at the age of seven, when he made a complete recovery. Of this time, Stoker wrote, "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were frui... Read more


Census 1891: Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (Jack the Ripper investigation)

Detective Inspector Edmund Reid was the head of the local C.I.D - H. Division in Whitechapel, and the man who started the 'Jack the Ripper' investigation.

I decided to look him up in the 1891 Census. A quick name search at The... Read more


Census 1901: Beatrix Potter

Helen Beatrix Potter was born on July 28, 1866 in Kensington Square, London, to Rupert Potter and Helen Leech, but the name Helen was dropped so as not to confuse her with her mother. Both parents having an inheritance from the cotton trade, life in the Potter household was easy and in want for n... Read more


Census 1911: J M Barrie

James Matthew Barrie was born in Scotland in 1860, the ninth child of ten. His idea for the ‘boy who never grew up’ is believed to have stemmed from the death of his older brother, David, following an ice-skating accident at the age of 13. His mother was devastated by the death and to... Read more